Well, I’m back. I needed some time to gather my thoughts about the election and what it means for us as a people, as a country, and for the world.
To say I was disappointed would be stating the obvious; disappointed on levels beyond a political loss. I’m disappointed that this country chose to take the path that it did, and chose it not out of considered long-term consequences but out of a knee-jerk, lizard-brain reaction to fear and loathing. I’m disappointed that more people that I agree with politically and morally chose to see their opponents in stark contrast to themselves rather than people frightened by fables and fear of the unknown that we could reach out to. We missed a lot of opportunities to bring comfort and security to them even if they didn’t act like they wanted it. We said we wanted to listen, but we only heard the outbursts, not the insecurities that makes people vulnerable to predators promising easy answers and nostrums in ten words or less. And despite the fact that our economy is improving, crime rates are falling, our children are learning, even our defenses are stronger, we allowed them to tell us the opposite and they believed it because for all the optimism that we say is part of human nature — if not, we’d eat our young — it is easier to believe in the bad things and demand simple solutions than it is to acknowledge the good and build upon it.
So, what’s next? What do we do now? I’ll get to that, but I can assure you of some things I won’t do.
I won’t deny the results of the election and go around with banners flying proclaiming #NotMyPresident or signing a petition demanding the Electoral College elect Hillary Clinton anyway. I will not join in the current anti-Trump protests on the street. That doesn’t preclude other protests in the future; just those fits of rage, especially the ones with property damage. Those actions are tantrums, not progress, and when people who objected to the election of Barack Obama said the same thing, we rightfully scorned them. I won’t even argue that just because Hillary Clinton won more popular votes than Mr. Trump she was somehow cheated out of the election. This is not the first time in our history that it has happened and it won’t be the last. It does not advance our cause by grasping at straws. We are supposed to be the grown-ups.
I will not call Mr. Trump by silly and insulting names. I didn’t do it with George W. Bush or any other president since I’ve had this blog, and all it does is perpetuate the perception that we’re juvenile and cannot be trusted to act like adults. All it does is prove that you have lost the argument and are lashing out.
Here’s what we will do: we stand up and fight back. We work at every level to elect people who are progressives and get our policies enacted into law starting at the city council and school board and work our way up. That’s how the right wing and the evangelicals did it starting forty years ago and look where it’s got them: a lock on state legislatures from coast to coast and a majority of governors. They’re the ones who control the districts for Congress and the next redistricting will come about after the next census in 2020. We have to have our people in place by then.
We stand up to bullying and bullshit and push back. If the Republicans could govern by refusing to consider anything proposed by a Democratic president, then it’s time to bring out the gander sauce and let them have a taste. Yes, they’re in the majority, but at least we will be heard and our principles are not defeated by being outvoted. That does not mean that we will not consider compromising on policies where there is common ground, but it will not be capitulation. If we go down, we go down with our principles intact.
We will use every legal means we can to bear witness to our beliefs and we will not be moved, intimidated, or oppressed for fighting back. We will remind everyone at every turn that there are those who not only oppose what may come, but we will offer better answers. We can’t just complain and snivel about what’s wrong; we have to have solutions.
It’s been a tough week. It’s going to be a tough four years, and we should do everything we can to make sure it is only four years. Not by hoping Donald Trump fails, but by making our country realize that his policies and views of America are dark, dangerous, and that there’s more to running a country than running for office. We have been down for the count before: 1972, 1984, 1988, but we’ve always come back. And we will again… assuming there’s a country to come back for.